Our Holistic Approach to Learning

We believe that effective pedagogy involves assessing children’s achievements in ways that are authentic and relevant to children’s interests, for example, to understand a child’s problem-solving skills practitioners should engage with and observe children during play experiences that children have chosen to do by themselves.

Ongoing assessment is an integral part of the learning and development process within Spateston Early Learning and Childcare Centre. It involves practitioners, observing children understand their level of achievement, interests and learning styles, and then shaping learning experiences for each child by reflecting on those observations. It is important that assessment should not entail prolonged breaks from interaction with children, nor require excessive paperwork.

We believe paperwork should be limited to what is necessary to promote children’s successful learning and development. Where it has not been possible for practitioners to identify children’s achievements in this way it could be highlighting the need to reflect on the pace and balance of the day. All practitioners are supported to carry out this part of their role to ensure they know children well and are confident in observing children’s achievements during genuine play and learning experiences. Achievement is observed at its best when children are motivated so more likely to perform at their best.

Opportunities for practitioners to have a regular dialogue about the learning taking place and the direction of projects children are involved in is a priority within the centre. This communication influences the environment and resources available to extend the children’s creativity and curiosity, creating a model of assessment that starts from what children can do. Our practitioners enable children to build on their current achievements and continue to develop in their own unique ways. We know that not investing in the sharing of the learning process would result in practitioners adopting the use of an outline of expected goals. Using a tick list as a ‘deficit model of assessment where a child’s achievements are assessed, focusing on what they cannot do and looking for gaps in their development is not an effective practice that we advocate.  It is everyone’s responsibility within the team to ensure that we are not moving towards a ‘one size fits all’ format to measure our children’s success.

The pedagogical approach we have allows practitioners the autonomy to use their skills in observation, their knowledge of child development and the relationship they have with their children to be flexible in their approach so that they can seize the moment.

The documentation of children’s learning and progress is captured in a way that children can discuss their learning and know what achievements and successes they have made. We consider the influence a research-based approach has on the learning and teaching for our children whilst reflecting on the impact practitioner professionalism has on the progress children make. A clear rationale for the design of learning and teaching within the pedagogical approach our setting takes ensures that when we talk about learning and teaching the balance of this has been well thought out. Our children can develop with the support of skilled practitioners scaffolding learning and capturing the outcomes children achieve. The role of the practitioner is pivotal in the quality our approach to learning creates.

Learn more